It’s human nature, right? The urge to share the latest news with our peers is ingrained in all of us. It’s certainly true across the inquisitive and ever competitive consumer packaged goods industry. How did company A achieve this? How did company B make that work? What exactly is company C up to? So, when we asked for insights from a bunch of very senior innovators from some of the world’s leading CPGs – or FMCGs if you prefer – almost all were partially motivated by our promise to share the findings of our research.
It’s pretty fascinating stuff and – true to our world – we are sharing it with you below. The methodology behind the research was clear and simple. We spoke to 10 senior innovators working in consumer markets in either the US, Europe or Asia. We asked them about the role of innovation in their company: how they got things done, how they find the right partners and what they could tell us about what’s working or not working right now.
Before you jump to the findings, a quick word on the hypothesis that sparked the project. Our belief was that external innovation had shifted in definition and purpose. It used to be about finding new technologies via the open innovation/tech scouting model born 20 or so years ago.
For 10-15 years after that, CPGs used their mass market presence to maximise their innovation. Armed with a new product, they could rely on mass distribution in physical retail and the wide reach of traditional media to cement a place in the market and grow their business. But greater digital adoption and investment in start-ups shifted the competitive marketplace and expanded the common definition of CPG innovation. It was no longer enough to innovate your product – you had to innovate the business model, the retail solution, the marketing approach and the future product stream.
At the same time, the start-ups were creating new rules in the market – but it was unclear if they really were the secret to success. Given this shift, solely relying on in-house and external technology-based solutions could surely not deliver all innovation needs. Was this true? Read our findings below, and of course please contact me directly if you’d like to continue the conversation.